The new season of everyone’s favourite Eighties nostalgia show is going to put female friendship first.
If you’re a fan of Stranger Things, you probably had a problem with how the show treated the characters of Eleven and Max in season two.
Max (Sadie Sink) arrived in town and immediately made her way into Eleven’s (Millie Bobby Brown) proverbial burn book. The Netflix show pitted the two young girls against each other courtesy of Eleven’s jealousy over what she perceived to be a burgeoning flirtation between Max and Mike, which wasn’t even a thing.
Season two of Stranger Things appeared to reinforce the exceedingly boring pop culture notion that boys and girls can never just be friends without something else getting in the way, and that girls will always, always end up at loggerheads when there’s a cute boy in the picture. Fine. Fine. Whatever. But also, do better Stranger Things!
That’s exactly what they’ve done in season three, if the new trailer is to be believed. The clip is full of scenes of Max and Eleven hanging out as friends: listening to music, eating ice cream, heading to the mall.
Gone was the pointless antagonism of season two and in its place was a quietly feminist realignment. Max and Eleven aren’t going to spend another season hating each other over a boy. They’re putting their friendship first.
This shift couldn’t be more important for Stranger Things, a show that has, in the past, been dominated by male characters and voices. Until Max’s arrival, Eleven was the sole girl in the friendship group, and key female characters (like everyone’s beloved Barb) received pretty short shrift when it came to their storylines.
Sure, the series is set in the literal Eighties, but television has come so far in its depiction of female relationships. Shows like Sex and the City, Grey’s Anatomy and Girls, but also Fleabag, Russian Doll and this year’s Shrill show how the support that women give each other can be the most important force in a woman’s life.
Women don’t exist to serve as romantic rivals in pursuit of the end goal of a man. It’s 2019, and we deserve better in our pop culture.
Besides, off screen Brown and Sink get along like a house on fire.
“Millie and I went to an Adele concert the first night that we met and ended up going on a trip to Cabo together later on,” Sink said in an interview in 2018. They sang duets on YouTube and hit the dance floor together at the Emmys.
Brown even named one of her pimples after her friend. “Excuse the pimple I named this one after the very talented Sadie Sink,” she said in an Instagram post.
We’re excited for the new season of Stranger Things and to see this friendship move from behind-the-scenes to in front of the camera.
Stranger Things will stream on Netflix from 4 July.